The Aspergillus nidulans linkage map is reviewed as a background to physical mapping by cosmid cross-hybridization and genome sequencing. DNA-based methods depend on contiguity, so that the resulting maps are only as good as the weakest link, whereas each new marker added to a linkage map can provide independent confirmation of the positions of its neighbors. For all eight chromosomes of A. nidulans a reliable framework has been provided by analysis of mitotic crossing over, in many cases substantiated by the study of translocation disomics. Building on this framework, there is a backbone of loci linked by reliable three-point meiotic mapping and a second set of less precisely mapped loci. The result is a map with a high degree of self-consistency although some areas of uncertainty or conflict are also noted.